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AC partners with Switch Health for COVID-19 molecular & antigen self-test kits

AC partners with Switch Health for COVID-19 molecular & antigen self-test kits

Old Oct 25, 2021, 8:20 am
  #1  
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AC partners with Switch Health for COVID-19 molecular & antigen self-test kits

https://www.newswire.ca/news-release...822868103.html

MONTREAL, Oct. 25, 2021 /CNW/ - Air Canada today announced the introduction of new testing products, including portable self-administered COVID-19 molecular and antigen test kits, through a partnership with Switch Health, a Canadian-based healthcare company. Using the Switch Health COVID-19 RT-LAMP Kit, customers can test themselves while travelling abroad prior to their flight to Canada to meet Government of Canada testing entry requirements without the need to visit a foreign COVID-19 testing clinic. These tests are conducted under the remote supervision of a Telehealth professional from Switch Health and include an electronic report suitable for travel.

"Air Canada is a leader in adopting and implementing science-based safety measures to simplify our customers' journey," said Mark Nasr, Senior Vice President, Products Marketing & eCommerce at Air Canada. "Together with Switch Health, we are pleased to offer our customers the most comprehensive range of travel testing options that will make travelling abroad easier and more predictable. Switch Health also seamlessly integrates into Air Canada's digital tool allowing customers to securely submit their COVID-19 test results and records of vaccination, further simplifying the travel experience."

"At Switch Health, we pride ourselves on keeping Canadians safe and empowering them to make decisions concerning their health at their convenience through cutting edge, decentralized diagnostics and patient-focused digital solutions," said Dilian Stoyanov, Chief Executive Officer at Switch Health. "Offering these COVID-19 tests will help get Canadians back to their favourite activities - like global air travel with Air Canada - safely, reliably and at their convenience."

Testing for travel

Customers flying to Canada are currently required by the Government of Canada to present a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of their flight. Switch Health's new portable self-administered test kit, officially called the Switch Health RT-LAMP Test Kit, can be taken by customers on their trips and used to satisfy this requirement without the need to visit a foreign testing facility. Air Canada is Switch Health's launch partner for these new tests, with limited quantities initially available for Aeroplan Members.

The RT-LAMP test is one of several ways Air Canada is offering practical solutions to ease customer experience and reduce the inconvenience related to the current pre-departure testing requirements. Other COVID-19 testing options include travel testing clinics, a self-administered RT-PCR collection kit and a portable self-administered antigen kit containing two tests which is accepted by many countries such as the United States.

These solutions are designed to ease the travel experience until the mandatory pre-departure test requirement evolves for fully vaccinated travellers. The Government's COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel recommends the removal of pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers, acknowledging that testing at both departure and arrival is excessive.

Preferred pricing for Aeroplan Members

Aeroplan Members have exclusive access to preferred pricing on all Switch Health testing products. Aeroplan preferred pricing for the portable antigen test kit start at $79 plus applicable taxes (one kit includes two tests), and the portable RT-LAMP test kit start at $149 plus applicable taxes. Members also earn 1,000 Aeroplan points on RT-PCR tests and 500 Aeroplan points on RT-LAMP test kits and antigen tests. Members can also redeem their Aeroplan points through the Aeroplan eStore to cover the cost of the test kits. Not an Aeroplan Member? Anyone can join for free.

Customers can visit aircanada.com/switchhealth for all the details or order a test kit at switchhealth.ca/aeroplan or redeem at aircanada.com/estore.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 8:30 am
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This has huge potential.

​​​​​​...now tell me I can order a kit and pick it up at the airport, without having to wait for it to ship.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 8:42 am
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In typical AC fashion, the links at the bottom of the press release get directed to AC's internal sharepoint.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:00 am
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Okay so the RT-LAMP tests are just re-branded Lucira Check It tests (as stated directly on the Switch Health page). I have two pretty big questions here:

1. The official Government of Canada requirements (https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/tr...ntering-canada) still state:
Travellers should have their test performed at a reputable laboratory or testing facility (i.e., one recognized by the local government or accredited by a third party, such as a professional organization or international standards organization).
It was my understanding that at-home test kits are not valid, unless the requirements change.

2. Since these are just Lucira Check It tests, if they are accepted for re-entry into Canada, why would I order them from Switch Health for $150 CAD when I can order them from the US distributors for $75 USD? Will Air Canada be denying boarding if I show a result in the LUCI portal instead of the Switch portal or something? Because if so then that's straight-up extortion.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:01 am
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OK...so who is going to play the role of Guinea Pig for this grand scheme?
I'm going to LAS in 10 days...so tempted...the only detail I can't glean is how long it takes to get the result from the LAMP test. Does anyone have any insight? Is it 12 hours? 24?
Thanks!
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:01 am
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AC website has the proper links: https://switchhealth.ca/en/partners/aeroplan/

Originally Posted by willflyforfood
the only detail I can't glean is how long it takes to get the result from the LAMP test. Does anyone have any insight? Is it 12 hours? 24?
Thanks!
"When will I get my Result Record? Within 45 minutes of uploading result reading for verification."

Buy-with-points pricing is straight-up laughable - $149 cash or 25,000 points?

Last edited by YOWgary; Oct 25, 2021 at 9:13 am
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:15 am
  #7  
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That's great and everything, but I'm still waiting on the 1000 points for PCR done 6 weeks ago. SwitchHealth agents were clueless about this when inquired and kept saying go contact AC or point to the test kit purchase link on eStore for purchase with points.

Earn Aeroplan points for COVID tests with Switch Health
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:18 am
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Originally Posted by etgohomeok
Okay so the RT-LAMP tests are just re-branded Lucira Check It tests (as stated directly on the Switch Health page). I have two pretty big questions here:

1. The official Government of Canada requirements (https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/tr...ntering-canada) still state:


It was my understanding that at-home test kits are not valid, unless the requirements change.

2. Since these are just Lucira Check It tests, if they are accepted for re-entry into Canada, why would I order them from Switch Health for $150 CAD when I can order them from the US distributors for $75 USD? Will Air Canada be denying boarding if I show a result in the LUCI portal instead of the Switch portal or something? Because if so then that's straight-up extortion.
Looking at the LUCIRA test, it isn't made as explicit that it is a RT-LAMP test, from what I've seen so far, thus making it, in theory anyway, acceptable to re-enter Canada.
I might regret saying this, but I'm sure AC Legal would have vetted the statements about this test being acceptable to re-enter Canada before they sent out a press release?
As well, the Switch Health people seem to have been caught off guard as there is nothing on their website yet re: the Aeroplan initiative.
As a side note, $150 CAD and testing at my convenience certainly beats $150 US, and having to relocate to a lab or collection point while on holiday!
And, based on literature, the result gets produced in 30 minutes. It seems that it then needs to be "verified" after the result is "uploaded" via Tele-Chat with the Switch Health people.
Nonetheless, I appreciate the initiative from AC/AEROPLAN!

Last edited by willflyforfood; Oct 25, 2021 at 9:20 am Reason: Forgot
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:27 am
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Originally Posted by willflyforfood
Looking at the LUCIRA test, it isn't made as explicit that it is a RT-LAMP test, from what I've seen so far, thus making it, in theory anyway, acceptable to re-enter Canada.
I might regret saying this, but I'm sure AC Legal would have vetted the statements about this test being acceptable to re-enter Canada before they sent out a press release?
As well, the Switch Health people seem to have been caught off guard as there is nothing on their website yet re: the Aeroplan initiative.
As a side note, $150 CAD and testing at my convenience certainly beats $150 US, and having to relocate to a lab or collection point while on holiday!
And, based on literature, the result gets produced in 30 minutes. It seems that it then needs to be "verified" after the result is "uploaded" via Tele-Chat with the Switch Health people.
Nonetheless, I appreciate the initiative from AC/AEROPLAN!
It's literally the same test. The following statement (typo and all) is on the Switch Health site:

Switch Health distributes the Lucira Check In COVID-19 Test Kit through the Switch Health RT-LAMP Home Collection Kit.
If a Lucira Check It test result in the Switch Health portal is valid then, surely, Air Canada should also accept a Lucira Check It test result in the Lucira portal?

I certainly won't be buying this from Switch since I can get a 15-minute NAAT test in Toronto for the same price to cover weekend trips to the USA, but I would very much be interested in having a $75 USD option if Air Canada is accepting Lucira tests...
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by etgohomeok
It's literally the same test. The following statement (typo and all) is on the Switch Health site:



If a Lucira Check It test result in the Switch Health portal is valid then, surely, Air Canada should also accept a Lucira Check It test result in the Lucira portal?

I certainly won't be buying this from Switch since I can get a 15-minute NAAT test in Toronto for the same price to cover weekend trips to the USA, but I would very much be interested in having a $75 USD option if Air Canada is accepting Lucira tests...
Does the Lucira test include a connection with a professional to verify that the test has been properly administered?

Ron.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 10:02 am
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This could be huge for those of us traveling internationally through the holidays. I'll need to see some data points, though, about how long it takes to get connected to a nurse. The last time I took one of these tests from Switch, which was much earlier in COVID, I was on the phone for hours. That wouldn't help my cause much when overseas.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by newfbc
Does the Lucira test include a connection with a professional to verify that the test has been properly administered?

Ron.
No but you do need to take a photo of your result and upload it for verification. There is one US distributor (https://www.meenta.io/product/lucira...l-in-one-test/) which, according to them, "includes a full results report from Meenta that meets the requirements for travel to the US and Canada."

I can see the argument being made that a supervised sample collection is less falsifiable than a photo of the results, but this is not a line that has been clearly drawn by the Canadian government (eg. "at-home tests are acceptable but only if sample collection is supervised over webcam"). So far the only entity who has said that Air Canada's test kits (and only Air Canada's test kits) are accepted for entry to Canada, is Air Canada.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 2:11 pm
  #13  
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GOC website says "Travellers should have their test performed at a reputable laboratory or testing facility".

So... how exactly does this work?
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 2:12 pm
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I can run out to a random walgreens for an ID Now, or fly with a test to the US and do it from my hotel room.

That is worth $150 to me. Would be great if you could order them to the concierge offices, or even the gate to grab on your way out.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 2:27 pm
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I've ordered one (express shipping) for a trip next week transborder. Will report how it goes.
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